Reading to Your Child
What if I told you that there was something you could do to improve your child’s chances of success, health, and happiness? It only takes 5 – 10 minutes each day. Plus, it is easy and fun. You would be immediately interested. There is an activity that meets this description. It’s reading with your child. Reading together offers so many important benefits and sets your child up for success in so many ways.
Reading is an excellent way to bond with your child. There is a wonderful physical closeness as your child sits on your lap or to your side. You share the experience of the story and all of the emotions that come with it. It can also help build a fun and interesting family vocabulary that brings you closer together.
The characters in books often face adversity or sadness. In children’s books, they usually persevere and find a way through their troubles. The characters become great role models for children and help teach them that they can navigate their way through difficult situations.
An Intellectual Boost
Early reading promotes early literacy and gives little ones an early intellectual boost. For instance, kids whose adults read to them learn a lot more words than kids whose adults do not. That gives kids a leg up in school that they can build over time. Confidence in school can lead to better grades and more advanced educational opportunities. To extrapolate further, kids who are read to have greater career success and increased financial stability.
All of these advantages help your eventual adult build the self-esteem they need to advocate for themselves within medical and other situations. They know how to access tools, resources, and support needed to cope with medical problems and other challenges. Finally, greater career success will likely provide increased access to healthy foods and exercise options.
When to Start
Start with simple books at birth (or even before, if you’re so inclined). Infants enjoy the sound of their parents’ voices. As they are able to focus, point to the images on the page as you name them. You can also modify picture books that may be too complex for a young baby. Use your own words to describe the pictures. This is called a “picture walk.” As your child grows, there is no end to the amazing adventures you can read together. Libraries and second-hand stores are great sources for free or affordable books for people of all ages.
If you’re looking for a small daily investment that has the ability to make a big difference for your child, reading together is it.
Audra Prandini, BS, is an Early Childhood-VT licensed educator and a developmental educator for Children’s Integrated Services Early Intervention in Bennington.